FRIEDRICH (FRITZ) MARTIN (1859-1932): Faust meets Gretchen in front of the church

Signed below left, oil on canvas, dimensions 80 x 62 cm (canvas), 100 x 82 cm (frame). Price € 1.295.

With this beautiful classic canvas by the German painter Friedrich (Fritz) Martin, Ars Decora offers a fascinating narrative work with great decorative power. The confrontation of figures in a historical setting and the powerful use of color by Martin create an atmosphere of great drama and yes, that’s what it is: an episode from Goethe’s Faust play.

Friedrich Martin was born in Leipzig in 1859. Between 1874 and 1881 he studied at the Handelsschule and at the Academy of Arts in his hometown. He acquired a bronze medal and with a letter of recommendation he continued his education between 1883-1892 at the renowned Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich. His teachers there were Otto Seitz (1846-1912) and the history painter of Hungarian origin Alexander von Wagner (1838-1919). Martin has practiced various disciplines including portraits, nudes and genre pieces. A fairly well-known large format canvas of his hand is 'Allegory des Handels'. A more exotic scene is the 'Man with turban'. 'The music lesson' was sold at a high price in the United States a few years ago, which shows that his painting is still much appreciated.

This painting from our collection, still in its orginal frame, depicts a scene from ‘Faust’ by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), one of the most famous works in literature. In this scene, Faust offers his arm to Gretchen (Margaret), just leaving the church. The lustful Faust, transformed into an attractive young man by Mephistopheles, wants to possess the young girl at any price. Martin has captured this moment very well. By positioning Gretchen at the top of the steps, her eyes down in devotion, she forms the center of the painting. The blue of her dress emphasizes her innocence. The purity of her character is beyond any doubt. The little boy behind her is looking at the viewer, as if he already knows what drama is about to unfold. The red suit of Mephistopheles, partly hidden behind Faust, accentuates the passion that consumes Faust.

Martin has painted a very decorative canvas that deserves a prime spot in the home of an enthusiast of classic theater or an admirer of Goethe. The canvas has been completely cleaned by our restorer, renewing the varnish and retouches. It is overall in excellent condition and the remarkable blues in the painting have regained their original quality.

Friedrich Martin Faust 134-1
Friedrich Martin Faust 134-2
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Friedrich Martin 134-5